In Brief

Credit growth slows but consumer and home loans keep strong pace Total credit expansion slowed to 9.1 percent year-on-year in April from 10 percent in March, provisional data from the Bank of Greece showed yesterday. But consumer and home loans, which have been feeding robust bank earnings growth, were still advancing at a strong pace. Total household credit – mortgages, credit cards, consumer loans – accelerated to 28.4 from 28.1 percent in March. The data showed Greek household indebtedness was 55.9 billion euros in April, or about 31.4 percent of annual economic output (GDP). The central bank has raised the provisioning for consumer credit, requiring that consumer loans non-performing for more than one year be provisioned at a 90 percent level from 74 percent previously. (Reuters) Government urges farmers to cut back on electricity use The deputy ministers for development and agriculture – Giorgos Salagoudis and Alexandros Kontos respectively – called on farmers to reduce electricity consumption from June 27 to August 5 this summer by cutting down on the use of energy-intensive irrigation systems between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said the ministry will soon announce incentives for large industries to limit energy consumption in July, along with a consumer awareness campaign, as the risk of a blackout remains clear. Radio Korassidis The Athens Stock Exchange yesterday decided to place the stock of electrical appliances retailer Radio A. Korassidis under supervision, citing recent unfavorable financial and business developments in the company. The stock has also been taken off the Retail Commerce and the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80 indices. The firm’s debt obligations are estimated at 250 million euros. ASE president Spyros Kapralos said the firm had not replied to a letter dated June 6 in which it was asked to provide explanations on its finances. It reported losses of 10.6 million euros for 2004. US-Hellenic event Chicago’s Drake Hotel will tomorrow host the symposium «Nostos, Scientists, Technology – A Vehicle for Economic Development in Hellas,» organized by the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) and the United Hellenic American Congress (UHAC). «We have several speakers who will address the issues of financial incentives and the strengths Greek scientists demonstrate in high-technology businesses, both in Greece and in the diaspora,» SAE president Andrew Athens said. Education Minister Marietta Giannakou will be the keynote speaker, who will also speak on Sunday at a general gathering of Greek Americans at Aghia Triada Church, which operates the historic Greek school «Socrates.» Blue Star loan Blue Star Shipping SA has signed a new syndicated bond loan of 200 million euros on favorable terms in order to meet the group’s borrowing requirements, it said in a statement. The loan is part of the group’s capital restructuring. The group of participating banks is headed by Citibank International Plc, and includes Greek banks National, Alpha, Piraeus and Emporiki, HSH Nordbank AG, DVB Bank AG and Deutsche Shiffbank AG. Fines threatened Pesticide importers found to be profiteering will be fined, warned Agricultural Development Deputy Minister Alexandros Kontos. «Comparisons with other EU states show Greek prices are too high,» he said.

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